Get Out of Debt Guy

A Debt Collector is Chasing Me Over an Old Debt. - Carol

Posted March 16, 2013

WRAL Reader Question

Dear Steve,

I have a credit card account that has been closed.

I received a letter back around January stating that I had only 10 days to pay up, but the fine print stated that I had 30 days to respond. It was supposedly a "legal letter" but it had no date on the postage to prove when it was mailed and it came through the regular mail.

This same company, which I tried to look up online and found nothing to help me, recently left me a voice mail stating that I had a complaint pending against me.

My first question is, Is this company considered a junk debt buyer?

And what happens if I have a complaint in their office pending against me?

Should I call them back or are they just using scare tactics?

I know that I need to get a copy of my credit report to see just how long it has been since there was a payment made.

Also, in NC, just how far can these collection agencies go? Will I end up in jail? In court? Please help!!!



Dear Carol,

Stop. Breathe. Everything will be fine.

Before you start panicing and reacting to their assertions and manipulative statements we need to figure out if the people calling you can even validate the debt and provide supporting documentation you owe them the debt. 

It might be they are a legitimate debt collection agency that is authorized to collect on this debt. Or maybe they bought the debt and are trying to collect.

But there has been so many fake and bogus debt collectors spring up over the past few years that I am skeptical of most all.

There has also been a big issue over the lack of documentation the debt buyers have on the original debt. Many times they don't have enough information to even accurately calculate what you owe or even prove they properly own the debt at all.

So let's take a fair, rational and logical step here and ask the debt collector to validate the debt first and ask them to prove the debt is valid.

To see a sample of a debt validation letter you need to send them within 30 days of being contacted by them, read How to Dispute and Ask a Debt Collector to Validate a Debt.

Steve Rhode

WRAL Get Out of Debt Guy

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  • steverhode Mar 19, 2013


  • tbk Mar 19, 2013

    Thanks for this information, I always pay what I owe so to receive something like this in the mail is shocking! Now I know what to do should something like this ever come up again.

  • steverhode Mar 19, 2013

    Don't feel bad. It can happy to all of us. Even me. The important thing to do if you are contacted about a debt you don't think is valid is to dispute the debt and ask the debt collector to validate the authenticity of the debt before you make any promise to pay. See

    I just had to do the same thing when I was contacted by a collector over an alleged unspecified toll road fee I owed on a license plate I did not recognize.

    These things will happen. It's how you react to them that's the key.

    I'm glad it all worked out for you in your situation. Sounds like it was inefficiency on their part at its finest.

  • tbk Mar 19, 2013

    Several years ago, I received a letter from a debt collector stating that I owed my Dr.'s Office a certain amount of money. This shocked me as I didn't have insurance so I had arranged to pay all my fees and expenses at the time of service. IN FULL!
    And I had never gotten any bills from them by mail or any phone calls. So when I called the Dr.'s office, they said that they had some computer issues and some bills were never sent out and that's why I never received any notices from them. I was really mad that they immediately sent it to a debt collector without giving me the chance. I really didn't want to deal with all of the debt collector stuff so I just paid the amount due. It wasn't really that much. After this I decided to go with a different Dr.'s office, so after I notified them of needing to transfer my records The previous Dr. sent me a check for the amount that I had overpaid, it was MORE then the amount they had sent to the debt collector and caused all this trouble! AHHH!

  • useyourheadalready Mar 19, 2013

    Debt collectors are just doing their job like you and I do everyday! Not sure how they can be at the bottom of society. Then again I don't have an issue with these folks because I pay what I owe when I owe it. Live within your means and these people will not bother you, ever! Simple as that! If you owe it, you should pay it!

  • slayerhil Mar 18, 2013

    As soon as you acknowledge a debt, the statute of limitations on collecting that debt starts over. So, if you have no intention of repaying the debt and cannot afford bankruptcy, then ignoring the debt collectors for the duration of the statute of limitations is definitely your best bet. It's fairly easy to block unwanted calls.

About this Blog:

Steve Rhode has had careers in opthalmology, real estate and as the head of a nonprofit debt counseling firm. On his blog, he offers hard-won, free advice about getting out of debt, consolidation and making the right choices as you manage your money.